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This paper describes a pilot project of an educational workshop designed to engage nursing preceptors and their senior undergraduate students in an evidence-based approach to practice. The educational process, content, and teaching-learning strategies are outlined, and the evaluation is discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for the formal implementation of the workshop as an educational offering.
Today’s baccalaureate nursing programmes emphasise critical thinking in academic and professional practice courses, with a view to improving the quality of a student’s thinking “by skilfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.”1 It is within the context of critical thinking that students learn the fundamentals of health sciences research and develop a beginning understanding of evidence-based practice (EBP). Professional practice courses provide excellent clinical opportunities for students to use their theoretical knowledge in the application of EBP principles and processes, under the guidance and supervision of clinical teachers.
With the ever increasing use of preceptorship as the major teaching-learning model for senior professional practice courses, the clinical teacher is often a Registered Nurse (RN) who provides direct care. Preceptorship utilises a framework whereby a senior nursing student is assigned to an experienced RN (known as a preceptor) employed by a healthcare agency and to a faculty tutor for the duration of the course. By working with the preceptor in day-to-day practice, the student gains invaluable “real life” professional experience in “real time.” The faculty tutor does not usually work with the preceptor-student dyad on a day-to-day basis but is linked to the preceptor and student via the course curriculum and the student’s individualised learning goals. One of the implicit benefits of this educational approach is the reciprocal learning from which all parties benefit, as each gains understanding of the others’ specific competencies and individual approaches …